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Letter: Volunteers in Medicine drawing new road map


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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Mary Ferdon, Volunteers in Medicine executive director, and Dave McKinney, VIM board chair

Columbus

Since 1997, Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) has provided free health care services for Bartholomew County citizens without access to medical insurance. We do this with a small paid staff and hundreds of community, physician, nursing, dental, pharmaceutical, and mental health providers and volunteers.

We are now at a crossroads in health care, and we see the changing health care environment every day at VIM. To be prepared to meet the challenges of what lies ahead, we need to envision where we want to be and decide how to get there.

VIM recently began a collaborative strategic planning process that will result in a road map for providing the very best care to the uninsured and under-insured patients of Bartholomew County. We will review our current volunteer model, look at alternative clinic models, do some benchmarking, and try to create a vision of how we want to care for and engage with this population for the foreseeable future.

We are looking ahead — to the next generation of Volunteers in Medicine.

Our planning efforts are being led by former Centra Credit Union CEO Loretta Burd and a team of talented and dedicated individuals from across the community. These team members represent various disciplines including medicine, business, finance, design, local government, community services and more. We feel extremely fortunate to have the support of these enthusiastic VIM supporters.

While there will be a final vision, we know that we must also build a significant degree of flexibility into our plan to be able to respond to emergent trends in this rapidly changing health care landscape. The work will be both demanding and energizing as we strive for long-lasting community impact and innovative ways to approach our county’s needs in this area.

At our inception 17 years ago, VIM founders created a vision based on the following ideal: “We welcome those who need — to come without fear, and we invite those who serve — to come without pride, so that their meeting may bring healing and hope to both.”

Regardless of what the future brings, we are committed to upholding that promise. As always, we thank each of you — friends, volunteers, advocates and donors — for your continued support.

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